MEXICO CITY – The Raiders spent three quarters on Monday night trying to find a rhythm. Never did. They were losing battles up front, failing to generate a running attack and struggling to keep pace with the Houston Texans.
No matter. Derek Carr knew they were going to win.
It wasn’t blind faith. The Raiders are closers, with several comeback wins on their resume. Add another one to the list.
The Raiders scored 14 unanswered points in the fourth quarter to beat the Texans 27-20 at Estadio Azteca in Mexico City.
“We got punched in the mouth, for lack of a better word, and we were throwing them back,” Carr said. “It was 10-10, tie game, tough game at half. We weren't doing things the way we usually want to do things, execution-wise. But there was no doubt in anybody's mind that we were going to come back and win the football game.”
Carr threw two touchdown passes down the stretch, accurate balls that allowed his skill players to make magic. Jamize Olawale tied the game on a 75-yard touchdown where he got lost in a coverage shuffle. Carr hit Amari Cooper on a 35-yard scoring strike where Cooper caught the ball, made a great cut and zoomed through traffic en route to the end zone.
The defense held strong down the stretch and the Raiders milked the clock with a long drive that killed the final three minutes.
It brought the Raiders to 8-2 and atop the AFC West. They’ve won four straight, and have supreme confidence in their ability to compete with anyone, even when things aren’t going great.
“That wasn’t a clean game, but our guys showed tremendous grit,” head coach Jack Del Rio said. “We got an opportunity to seize control and were able to do that. We made the plays we need to make to get a hard-earned win.”
These comebacks have become a Raiders signature, after so many dramatic wins. They came back and bit New Orleans, Baltimore and Tampa Bay that way. Houston is the latest victim.
“We had to come up with some big plays there at the end, and we were able to get that job done,” running back Latavius Murray said. “It gave us the chance to get this win. The defense played great, and the offense had go to out there and get a lead late.
“It really feels good. What’s special about this team is that we keep finding ways to win. We have to continue to work and continue to get better as we move forward.”